Category: 2016-17 (Page 4 of 9)

Winter cycling: Brilliant or insane?


Former student Matt Veith cycles across campus

As an international student used to 20-plus weather almost year round, winter cycling sounded like torture to me. Why would anyone in their right mind spend extra time on icy roads and freezing temperatures?

My curiosity led me to connect with some CMU cyclists who commit to getting on their wheels even in the worst days of winter. Marika Veith, a third year Social Sciences student, and Dan Epp-Tiessen, Associate Professor of Bible, ride year round. They shared with me some of the motives that keep them cycling.

Marika explained, “I feel more independent when I am biking as opposed to other forms of transport. I am always late to the bus and in many ways I actually have a more dependable form of transport when I bike. I have CMU’s bike co-op where I can keep my bike and use tools. It takes away some of the overwhelming power that winter has over me. Coming from somewhere warm, winter feels debilitating. When I winter bike, it feels like I am leaning into it and accepting what winter is and not being afraid of it.”

I can relate to Marika’s experience because navigating the city during the winter months via public transit is often frustrating. That’s right — I, the South American, have become one of those winter cyclists. After a couple of bruised elbows and some trial and error, I navigate Winnipeg roads at -20 degrees.

While both Marika and I both enjoy the increased independence of winter cycling, others cycle for different reasons.

Dan explains why he cycles in winter: “I am committed to caring for God’s creation, so I try to drive as little as possible and use as few fossil fuels as possible. Enjoying fresh air and exercise and a 30 minute bike ride is a great way to begin and end the work day. Hopping on my bike in the morning and getting some vigorous exercise is much warmer and more convenient than waiting at a bus stop. Years ago, I read a devotional that encouraged readers to do at least one difficult task each day so that when life becomes challenging we will have some resilience and toughness. Winter biking is one way in which I maintain some physical and mental toughness.”

Winter cycling is a way to connect and embrace the city in a unique way. It has the ability to shift how we experience winter and creates room for conversations around environmental concerns. It also requires boldness and hard work. The community of cyclists, although they winter cycle for a variety of reasons, are happy to come alongside new riders.


Social Sciences

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During my first year at CMU, I had no idea what I wanted to study. I love learning and discovering new things, and everything here seems so interesting – how could I choose? That is one of the reasons why I decided to major in Social Sciences, with a focus on International Development. This degree allows me to explore a variety of topics that pique my interest while expanding on the one topic I want to focus on for my future career.

In my classes, I get to explore topics such as social justice, international development, peace, psychology, and religion. In class, I am able to ask hard and confusing questions and not feel embarrassed or uneducated, because my classmates are also curious and often have similar questions.

I love how the professors at CMU use unconventional teaching methods both inside and outside the classroom (literally – it is one of the many perks to having the Assiniboine Forest in our backyard!) This makes learning fun and sparks invigorating conversation. Professors dive deep into different topics and social issues that interest both them and their students, and teach in ways that make class material easy to understand and relate to.

CMU has gifted me with the opportunity to love what I am learning. The social sciences, while challenging at times, allow me to be part of the conversation and help me to be more aware and involved. Without taking classes such as Cultures of Peace and Violence, Third World Theology, and Intro to International Development, I would not have realized that I would like to pursue a career in the nonprofit world as an international aid worker.

I have discovered that I have a passion for education and a desire to ensure that all people have access to basic education. Through my classes, I have discovered that there are organizations which share the same passions as me and are working to make quality education a reality in all parts of the world. As a social science student, I am able to envision my future and get excited for all the possibilities that lie ahead!

Guest blogger Esther Hardy is a third year student in Social Sciences.

Music Therapy


I feel tremendously fortunate to be studying Music Therapy at CMU. Throughout my first semester, I kept having these “pinch-me” moments where I couldn’t believe I was studying what I love and working toward my goal of becoming an accredited music therapist.

Amidst lyric rewrites, unconditional positive regard, and a whole lot of goal writing, I can happily report that I have found my place in the Program. It leads to a Bachelor of Music Therapy, followed by an internship and exam for accreditation. Music therapy, done by accredited music therapists, uses music as a tool to promote client healing and wellbeing.

The Music Therapy Program at CMU draws on a wealth of knowledge from both textbooks and the profession itself. We complete practicum placements where we are supervised by a music therapist. Day-to-day we learn from our professors, who are practicing music therapists. I find their insights and experiences to be helpful and eye-opening.

Our cohort is a small, tight-knit group and we are provided opportunities to share our experiences from practicum with each other. In our Improvisation and Skills class, we have the chance to learn about and try out different music therapy interventions, which we can then adapt to use with our clients. We do spend a lot of time in practice rooms, but I value the time we spend together learning and practicing. Having professionals as well as peers share their music therapy experiences contributes to a well-rounded education. 

As music therapists-to-be, we take courses in music, psychology, and anatomy to prepare for the diverse environments where we are likely to be employed: schools, hospitals, private practice, personal care homes, or mental health facilities. One of the best parts about the Music Therapy Program is the opportunity to put learning into action. We have four semesters of practicum experience, each with a different client demographic.

Music therapy is beneficial for people at any stage of life and all ranges of ability. This semester, I’m looking forward to my practicum in the school system. Studying music therapy gives me the opportunity to merge my love of music with my desire to help others. In the future, I hope to use therapy services in a summer camp setting.

Guest blogger Johanna Kroetsch is a first year student in the two-year Music Therapy after degree program.

To post or not to post?


As I go through my Facebook or Instagram feeds, I often come across posts which show that my contact had an amazing night or is having the worst day of their life. But whether it’s a picture at a party or a comment about home life, remember that whatever you put out there is there forever.

Listen, I get it; you’re having a bad day, your boyfriend just broke up with you, and you want others to empathize with your challenges. But as the great Andy Mineo says, “Face your problems, don’t Facebook it!”

Sometimes it feels easier to rant about something, knowing that your friends will agree and make you feel better (I do this all the time!) However, in the end, you’ll still have to face that person or deal with that situation.

When I go for a job interview, I’m often asked about my social media accounts. I thank my parents for making me think twice about the photos or comments I was posting. I may not have believed them at the time, but I know of countless people who lost an opportunity because of posts that made them look irresponsible.

Some poorly-discerned comments can even become evidence in a criminal case. I once saw this post: “Last night I drove home drunk like a dumbass and ran over a rabbit.” WHAT?!

One of my contacts regularly posted what time and where she would be going for runs. This can also be dangerous, making the user an easy target for s break-in or attack.

If we think twice about what we post, it becomes common sense to not post party pics, nudes, rants, private information, or relationship issues. No good can come out of it – and it’s probably out there forever.

I’ve recently been challenged by 1 Corinthians 10:23-33: “Do all to the glory of God.” What does it look like for my social media to be a reflection of my dedication to God? It doesn’t mean to only post bible verses or shove Christianity down people’s throats. I believe it goes hand-in-hand with the fruit of the Spirit, making your posts a reflection of “joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”

This conviction helps me think twice about what I’m posting. If it’s going to be there forever, I want it to inspire and be a reflection of my values. I try to ask myself, Is this something I would be ok with everybody seeing? Is it an accurate representation of who I am and want to be?


7 tips for wading through the slog of exams


I hate exams. They are stressful, exhausting, challenging, and tedious (and I could add many words to this list). But even though there are many other things I would rather be doing, they are a part of the life of a student. Here are a few things that make my studying less stressful and more productive.

1. Make a schedule: There’s always a lot of content to sift through, so making a schedule for the day is helpful to decide when I am studying for which subject and how much I want to do at once. Breaking things up into smaller sections makes them feel more manageable.

2. Eat healthy snacks: It’s important to make sure that you are eating well so that you have enough energy to focus. Even though it’s tempting to drink a lot of coffee, if you drink too much you’ll be jittery. And remember to drink water!

3. Sleep: I am one of the biggest culprits of this, but staying up late to study for a few more hours will often hurt you more than it will help. When I get a good night’s sleep the night before an exam (at least 8 hours), I can remember the stuff I studied better than if I tried to cram in a few more chapters late at night.

4. Get Exercise: Stand up and move! Go for a walk, do yoga or jumping jacks. It helps you stay healthy – mentally and emotionally as well as physically – so that you’ll be able to focus more when you study.

5. Reward Yourself: Set goals, and when you meet them, give yourself a treat. Whether it’s watching an episode of your favourite TV show, buying a fancy latte, or visiting with friends, these breaks will help you stay positive and focused when it’s time to hit the books.

6. Teach Someone: When you talk through a concept to explain it to someone else, it helps you gain a better understanding of the ideas yourself. When I explain questions to friends, it helps me remember and answer them more concisely on exams.

7. Find a Comfortable Study Space: It’s important to find a place where you are comfortable. I like to study in places that have lots of light, where there are people around me and I can spread out my books. This will be different for everyone, so find what works for you.

Over time, you will learn what works best for you, how to study, and how to stay calm. And in the end, whether you’ve received the best grade you can imagine or the worst, remember that the mark does not define who you are.


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